Kathmandu, March 24
The Department of Tourism (DoT) recently published its first ever record of high-altitude rescue activities. Based on recently promulgated Tourist Search, Rescue, Medication and Monitoring Guidelines 2018, the department had started keeping records of rescue activities from September 1 last year. As per data compiled by department, a total of 171 trekkers were rescued in the autumn season from different trekking destinations of the country.
According to the data, most of the rescues were related to high-altitude sickness.
Besides, blood vomiting, fracture on leg and hand, chest pain, dehydration and diarrhoea were some of other reasons for the rescue missions.
According to the department, total expenditure of the rescues that were conducted in the autumn season was worth $12,100.
“After the fake rescue scam, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation had issued a guideline for search and rescue operations.
Based on the same rule we have started keeping records of rescue activities,” said Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general of DoT.
Ghimire further expressed his belief in preventing fake rescue activities in trekking with this initiative of keeping authorised records of rescue details. Earlier in July last year, a taskforce formed by the MoCTCA to investigate fake rescue operations, had found eight trekking companies, four hospitals and three helicopter companies conducting fake rescue operations in collusion.
After receiving several complaints regarding fake rescue operations, the ministry had conducted an investigation into the issue.
“After we started monitoring rescue operations and taking action against those staging fake rescue operations, the number of rescues has fallen drastically,” said Ghanashyam Upadhyaya spokesperson for MoCTCA. He further said that there used to be more than 1,000 rescues in one season alone but now the number has declined to 171 this season.
He clarified that since there was no government body keeping records of such activities it had encouraged irregularities in the sector. Upadhyaya further said that now the government will have all the records of search, rescue and medical activities of every season.
Number of rescues drops from over 1,000 as govt cracks down on fake operations
A version of this article appears in print on March 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.